Sep 9, 2009
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Sports Direct raises profit forecast

Sep 9, 2009

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's biggest sporting goods retailer, Sports Direct (SPD.L), raised its full-year profit forecast after a strong start to the year.

The Aston Villa Home Kit 2009/2010 at Sports Direct - Photo: www.sportsdirect.com

The firm, 71 percent owned by billionaire Mike Ashley, said on Wednesday 9 September it now expected to achieve underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of "at least" 150 million pounds in the year to end-April 2010.

This compares with a previous forecast of "at least" 140 million pounds and the 137 million pounds made in the previous year.

Sports Direct, which owns Sports World and Lillywhites stores as well as brands such as Slazenger, Lonsdale and Dunlop, said revenue increased 10 percent to 375 million pounds in the 13 weeks to July 26, with group profit up 4.7 percent to 157 million pounds.

"Since the end of July, trading has continued to be ahead of last year and we are very comfortable with our expectation of reducing net debt to below 400 million pounds," said chief executive Dave Forsey.

Shares in Sports Direct, which floated at 300 pence in 2007, have risen by 82 percent over the last six months on recovery hopes, outperforming the UK general retailers index by 19 percent.

The stock closed at 114 pence on Tuesday 8 September, valuing the business at 657 million pounds.

(Reporting by James Davey; editing by Rhys Jones)

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